So, you buy a “smart” home gadget (wifi plug, thermostat, light bulb, etc.), get home, install, and now what? Oh, you need to find the “app for that”. So you go to your platform of choice, be that Apple, Google, Amazon, and start your search for the corresponding app. Watch out! Don’t get that one that looks right, but is actually made by someone else to trick you.

Now it’s configuration time. Install the app, find that hidden reset button on the smart device, hope one sees the other, and try to configure. Software downloads, prompts, multiple actions, multiple screens, all with your fingers crossed it works…. and then all too often, rinse-and-repeat. We haven’t even started getting this new smart device to work with your digital assistant of choice, oy vey!

This is not a smart path to success.


Standards you say? Perhaps, and that day will come I’m sure. Right now, I understand that technology is changing, these devices need supporting apps to handle configurations and integrations with the various connected home platforms and digital assistants in our pockets; but what if these supporting apps were streaming solutions like a music service?

We have long used search engines on the web to find what we’re looking for with natural language. We don’t (typically) decide to buy a product and go looking for it by name. Instead we use a natural search topic like: wifi smart plug and are presented with a plethora of applicable responses, to include ratings, prices, where to buy, etc.

I’d like to install that new plug, that new thermostat, and have the AI in my digital assistant recognize that device, suggest the proper supporting application from its App Store (again, your platform of choice given the digital assistant you use), prompt for install and automate the configuration. Now that’s SMART.

Taking that further, how about apps that provide extensions to your digital assistants? Shouldn’t my assistant know about these solutions and match available functionality with my spoken request? Perhaps what’s broken is the pricing model. Instead of charging for a one time purchase of the app, have these app stream like music. Up Next (video streaming), Suggested for You (music and product platforms), where’s my This May Help suggestion for the home? Pay-per-use to the developer would drive innovation and solutions we actually use rather than a tease app that falls to the back pages of your phone never to be used again.

These assistant platforms have all the data to know which solutions are utilized most often and the value they bring to the user experience. Therefore, stack rank those solutions and let me know when there’s options that could help me make my home smarter and improve my user experience!

I’d like to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts and experiences with Smart Home setup in the comments.

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